A common indicator of a poor pitching outing is having more walks than strikeouts. Kris Bubic walked four in 6.1 innings while striking out only two. However, he only allowed two hits and one run. No runner reached second base until the seventh inning when Bubic allowed a lead-off double. That wasn’t what the Royals were looking for; as I noted in the game thread preview, Bubic’s primary goal for tonight should have been to limit walks and home runs. However, it was a very effective outing all the same.
On the offensive side, the Royals stranded seven runners through the first four innings. Stranded runners are frequently a sign of a very frustrating night for the offense. However, between Bubic’s excellent start and an incredibly wild Seattle pitching staff, the Royals managed to score enough to win.
Whit Merrifield led off the game with an infield hit before advancing to second, third, and eventually home on three wild pitches in the first inning. Mariners starter Yusei Kikuchi had thrown three wild pitches all season before completely losing his control, tonight. The Royals scored a second run in the first inning on back-to-back-to-back, two-out singles by Andrew Benintendi, Carlos Santana, and Adalberto Mondesi.
The Royals struck again with two outs in the third inning on back-to-back, two-out doubles by Mondesi and Michael A. Taylor. Taylor tacked on a solo home run into the left-center fountains off of reliever Sean Doolittle in the fifth inning. Doolittle also fired a pitch that would have been above and behind a left-handed batter in the inning that made me wish I could get a highlight for you all. You’ll have to settle for the dinger, instead.
Then, in the ninth inning, the Royals stopped stranding runners when the Mariners stopped trying to win. The Mariners emptied their bench to give some guys an inning off and made it clear that reliever Matt Andriese was not coming out no matter how many runs the Royals scored. The Royals, in response, loaded the bases with no one out for Nicky Lopez when Kyle Seager topped off a night full of Seattle blunders by dropping a double-play ball. Lopez drove in a run with a single, Salvy drove in a run with a single, Benintendi drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and Carlos Santana drove in one more with a ground out.
- Salvador Perez, to chants of “Let’s go Salvy!” earned a golden sombrero, before his ninth-inning, RBI single. Is he pressing to try and reach those 50 homers I want to see?
- Bubic had the longest start by a Royals’ starter on this homestand. The previous longest start was four innings. The bullpen should get him a coffee or something.
- Michael A. Taylor, Carlos Santana, and Adalberto Mondesi all had two different batted balls with exit velocities over 100 MPH. Taylor and Mondesi had a pair of hits on theirs, Santana had a pair of groundouts.
- Hunter Dozier had a pair of singles and a walk in the game which quietly gives him a nascent five-game hitting streak.
- Domingo Tapia, Josh Staumont, and Gabe Speier combined to pitch 2.2 scoreless innings and earn a pair of holds.
The Royals will go for the series victory tomorrow. Jackson Kowar (0-3, 11.50 ERA) will look for his first big-league win and also try to get his ERA back into the single digits. The Mariners will send rookie right-hander Logan Gilbert (5-5, 4.97 ERA) to the mound. Gilbert has a 6.68 ERA in his last seven starts, including a start where he allowed five runs in four innings against the Royals on August 27. In case you’re curious, Salvy did tag him for a three-run bomb in that game.